If you’re ever in the mood to stir up a polarizing debate then bring up the quality and performance of any Bose equipment. Some hate it, some love it, and there are not many opinions in between. This Bose 360 receiver was part of the Bose Direct/Reflecting Music System and doesn’t get a lot of love from most audio enthusiasts. To be fair, it wasn’t a top of the line Bose product like their Spatial Receiver or 1801 amplifier. It was an entry level stereo that was paired with a simple turntable and a pair of bookshelf speakers. Sort of an early all-in-one system.
The Direct/Reflecting Music System hit the market in 1977. The model 360 receiver is a 10 watt per channel stereo with Total Harmonic Distortion of 1%. Not very impressive. Bose, headquartered in Framingham, MA, had the 360 built in Japan and then imported into the U.S. It was marketed as a culmination of years of research and development by Bose and, “…dedicated to bringing superb musical reproduction into the home.” Their marketing hasn’t changed much over the years. The owner’s manual from the late 1970’s stated that all of the components of their Direct/Reflecting Music System had been carefully designed to:
“…work together as a unique high fidelity system. The careful design and ‘interaction’ of these components provides a level of performance normally associated with stereo systems costing several times the price of the Bose 360.”
While the Bose Spatial Receiver properly paired up with some Bose 901 speakers may sound great. The Bose 360 was nowhere near that level of quality. It does, however, have a single meter that serves as both the AM signal strength meter and the FM tuning meter. It has a Loudness control and both Phono and Aux outputs. And, well, that’s about it.
As part of the Direct/Reflecting Music System the purchaser would also receive a Bose 360 belt drive, semi-automatic turntable. Like the 360 receiver it has minimal features. It was made in Japan, probably by CEC (Chuo Denki) and, to be fair, it is probably very similar in quality to some of the other more popular bottom-of-the-line brand name turntables such as Pioneer or Marantz. In fact, CEC made some of the lower end Marantz turntables. At the end of the record the turntable will return the arm to the rest and power down.
The crux of the Direct/Reflecting system is the pair of direct reflecting speakers. On the back of the speakers it says: “For use only with Bose 300 series music systems.” It is imperative, according to Bose, to situate the receiver and speakers properly in order to garner the high level of musicality claimed in the brochure. Each speaker houses one 8″ woofer and two 3″ cone tweeters, one facing front and one to the rear. The speakers were made in the U.S. and measure 11 1/2″ H x 16 1/2″ W x 9 1/4″ D.
The speakers are asymmetrical. Speaker 1 goes on the left and speaker 2 on the right. The end with the grill cloth is where the tweeters are located and should be placed facing the side wall. They should be placed at ear level and 1 1/2 to 3 feet from the sidewall. Minimum recommended spacing between the speakers is 4 feet.
Inside the Bose 360 is fairly simplistic. Probably the reason the stereo only weighs in at a meager 12 pounds.
- 10 watts per channel into 8 ohms
- No more than 1% THD
- Signal to Noise ratio 60 dB
- Treble and Bass tone controls
- Loudness Control
- Two pair of speaker outputs
- Headphone jack
- Dimensions: 5 5/8 x 17 3/4 x 12 inches
- Weight: 12 lbs
As I mentioned above, any discussion of Bose equipment usually results in heated debate. But, Bose made some great equipment during audio’s vintage heyday. Their Spacial Control receiver, the 1801 amplifier and 4401 pre-amp are excellent pieces of equipment. But, alas, the Bose 360 receiver does not fall into that category. Still, if you enjoy the retro look of an early component system and are not overly concerned with high fidelity then maybe the Direct/Reflecting Music System would work for you.